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Dillian Whyte on huge Matchroom Fight Camp main event vs. Alexander Povetkin: He's my biggest test

2 min read
whyte-povetkin-hearn-matchroom-200820-ftr (Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing)

Matchroom Boxing's intriguing four-week Fight Camp experiment will conclude when the final bell sounds at the end of Dillian Whyte's battle with Alexander Povetkin for the interim WBC heavyweight championship.

With the winner assured by the WBC that he will be next in line for the winner of Tyson Fury's third battle with Deontay Wilder, this is a golden opportunity for both England's Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) and Russia's Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) to finally ascend to the top of a loaded division after failed attempts in the past.

This will be each man's first action in 2020 after boxing ground to a halt courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic. And although Whyte added two wins to his resume last year, decisioning Oscar Rivas and Marisuz Wach, "The Body Snatcher" would rather forget 2019 altogether.

"Last year wasn’t great for me," admitted Whyte. "My mind wasn’t right in those fights. It made me put a lot of weight on.

"In my last fight, I weighed around 20 stone. I’ve taken this time to get myself in shape and it’s been good. I knew who I was fighting and what it would take, so with the extra time I got the preparations done."

If Whyte wants to spend the next few years in the ring with the Furys, Wilders and potentially again with Anthony Joshua, he must overcome a man who has only been defeated by AJ and Wladimir Klitschko. But it doesn't seem to faze him at all ahead of Saturday's card.

"The story of my life has been pressure," he continued. "It’s another thing I have to deal with.

"There’s a bit more pressure than usual because what’s in the future for the winner, but I’m not bothered about what Fury or Wilder are doing. I’m focused on what Povetkin is doing.

"He’s my toughest test so far. He’s probably the most technical heavyweight I’ve fought so far. He’s done it all the way up the ranks — European, Commonwealth and all the way to fighting for world titles."

Of course, this show will have no crowd, as has been the case with the other three Fight Camps under post-lockdown protocol. Whyte does not foresee a lack of palpable atmosphere as an obstacle, either.

He said: "Some of my hardest fights have been in the gym, and nobody is there for those. And when the bell goes, it doesn’t matter if there’s 100,000 people there.

"I don’t care if it’s a boxing match or a war. I’ll take my defensive duties seriously and do what I need to do. You know me, I can go to war and I can box. But when I’m fit and in shape, there’s gonna be problems for the other guy."

Povetkin kept his contributions to the final press conference short and sweet, offering a few respectful comments via a translator.

"Thank you Eddie for arranging this despite the pandemic, and thanks to Dillian for agreeing to the fight," said Povetkin.

"This should be a great fight in the heavyweight division. I understand how important it is to take this fight very seriously."

Matchroom Fight Camp 4, headlined by Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin and Katie Taylor vs. Delfine Persoon, airs live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN in the U.S. on Aug. 22.

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